Editor’s Note:
The Fall 2013 issue of Currents kicks off the celebration of two university events:  the annual WSU Homecoming (this year’s theme is “Island Luau”) and the 50th anniversary of the Winona State University Foundation.

To commemorate the Foundation’s half-century of philanthropy and stewardship, this issue of Currents, along with the winter and spring editions, will feature stories about various aspects of “giving.”

Because the Foundation exists to further the mission of Winona State University, we’ll first look at those who are “improving our world” by giving back through service to others. Those stories range from and alumnus who represents Native Americans in Northern Minnesota, to a 2007 graduate who works on health issues in East Africa. Future issues will examine other notions of giving, such as the impact that gifts make on both the benefactor and beneficiary.

The symbol of this year’s Homecoming theme is the lei, a traditional Hawaiian symbol of welcome and friendship. With that spirit in mind, we welcome you to look in the back of the magazine for a complete Homecoming schedule and registration information.

We look forward to seeing you in the Island City for WSU Homecoming on October 18-20, and throughout the year as we celebrate the Foundation’s 50th.

Brett Ayers, Editor





Wellness Complex Garden Goes Native
If you’re looking to learn more about regional conservation and biodiversity, look no further than Winona State’s new interactive garden.

Located in front of the Integrated Wellness Complex, this native prairie garden reflects the high environmental standards of the IWC’s LEED Gold certification. The garden highlights indigenous species that require minimum maintenance and provide many ecological services, including pollutant filtration and habitat for pollinators.

The garden will serve as a venue for campus events and will assist with educational outreach. For example, each species is labeled with the plant’s common and scientific names, plus a QR code that links to more information in the WSU Arboretum Online Plant Database.

Download the WSU Mobile App at www.winona.edu/it/winonastatemobile.asp to check out the WSU Arboretum Online Plant Database and more.



Making Learning Fun
Exploding rockets. Life-size bubbles. A hands-on archaeological dig. Two hundred twenty students at Rochester’s Riverside Elementary got up close and personal with learning this summer through the fourth annual STEM Camp, sponsored by WSU-Rochester.

The STEM enrichment program provided hands-on learning activities for K-5 students at Riverside while offering students in WSU-R’s undergraduate education program and Graduate Induction Program the opportunity to design and facilitate courses.

The camp also supports mentorship within the Rochester education community, with seasoned WSU alumni returning year after year to share their experience and work with current WSU students.

Advancing Education
Two new programs at Winona State aim to meet workforce and community needs, allowing industry professionals to achieve educational goals while maintaining stable employment.

The Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Healthcare Leadership and Administration (HLA) is the first online healthcare leadership degree offered through the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. HLA is an academic pathway for allied health professionals who possess associate’s degrees and wish to earn their bachelor’s.

The Professional Science Master’s Degree in Applied Research and Management (PSM) provides advanced training, greater professional mobility, and improved job-security for those in science-related fields. PSM students will also expand skills in such high-demand areas as business, project management, communications, and regulatory affairs.

Check out www.winona.edu/hla and www.winona.edu/psm for more information.

New Faces, New Roles


Our community of learners continues to grow and change as we welcome friends, both new and old, and transition leadership roles across the campus.

Patricia Rogers joins the campus as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. She comes to WSU from Bemidji State University, where she served as Dean and Interim Dean for the College of Health Science and Human Ecology and the School of Graduate Studies.

Karen Johnson, Dean of Students, and Barbara Oertel, Director of the Warrior Success Center, take on new interim roles heading up the Office of Student Life and Development, as former vice president Connie Gores assumes the presidency at Southwest Minnesota State University.


Recent Winona State graduates Kai Hovden and Spencer Hartz of Geneva, Wis., and Wiley Koehler of Cedarburg, Wis. (L to R), traveled across the U.S. this summer to help others in need and shed light on the most neglected parts of the country. Find out more about their fundraising efforts at The Starfish Project on Facebook: www.facebook.com/starfishproj